News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 14
 
Welcome to the electronic news bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector, informing you about UNESCO's activities in the field of education and in particular the follow-up to the World Education Forum in Dakar (April 2000). Please forward it to other interested colleagues.
 

Contents (20 December 2000)

---> Jacques Hallak retires as UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education

---> Farewell comments by Jacques Hallak: Coping with future challenges

---> UNESCO writes open letter to Oxfam International

---> World Bank maps donors' EFA target countries

---> Regional up-date on EFA activities

---> Countries in action for EFA (in this issue: Bangladesh, Madagascar, Pakistan and Sierra Leone)

---> Season's greetings

Attachments in this issue:

---> Open letter to Oxfam from UNESCO

---> World Bank table on donors' EFA target countries

 
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Jacques Hallak retires as UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education
 
Jacques Hallak, acting Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO since May 2000, will retire by the end of the month but will continue to be closely involved in the Education for All movement.
 
"Many of you know Jacques as a shaker and a mover," said Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO in his opening speech at the recent meeting of the Working Group on Education for All. "These characteristics, combined with his intimate understanding of the issues at stake and his personal charisma and enthusiasm have been critically important for me and for UNESCO at this crucial juncture for the Organization."
 
The new Assistant Director-General for Education is being appointed. More information will be given in the next issue of the Bulletin Board
 
Farewell comments from Jacques Hallak: Coping with future challenges
 
The World Education Forum in Dakar designated UNESCO as the lead agency in the global drive towards education for all.
 
In the past eight months we have taken this leadership role seriously: We have been through an internal reorganization to be able to better respond to the responsibility entrusted to us. We have also aimed at making the Dakar follow-up process as collaborative as possible through extensive consultations with Member States, donors and non-governmental organizations. Our approach has been and continues to be 'leadership through partnership'. This does not imply, however, that we can only move ahead in consensus. Debate and even conflicting views are signs of a healthy state of affairs and can actually help achieving the Education for All goals that we all endorse and believe in.
 
Although we have moved rapidly and made progress on several fronts, major challenges lie in front of us in the months to come.
 
In many countries, national EFA plans of action are taking form. That is great news, but only when these plans are backed by political will and necessary financial resources. It cannot be repeated too often: the determination of countries is essential to the success of the Education for All movement. Countries themselves must take the lead in mobilizing efforts and resources at national level and must secure the involvement of civil society.
 
However, the support of the international community is crucial. The commitments made in Dakar, Okinawa (the G8 Summit) and most, recently in Halifax (the conference of Ministers of Education of the Commonwealth) now have to take concrete forms. The famous commitment in the Dakar Framework for Action that 'no government seriously committed to achieving education for all will be thwarted in this achievement by lack of resources' now needs to be translated into concrete funding agreements.
 
The changing landscape of civil society organizations across the globe also calls for new kinds of partnerships and alliances. These organizations must play a crucial role and be given greater visibility in the preparation and implementation of national plans of action. At the same time, we must try to get more concise knowledge about the impact of their efforts.
 
UNESCO will continue to play its role as broker. On the recommendation of the Working Group on EFA, we have decided to create a number of task-oriented sub-committees, which will be up and running early next year. For example, there will be a sub-committee to move forward on the 'global initiative' that will design concrete strategies to ensure increased funding for EFA in a realistic way. Only together we can make these sub-committees effective and constructive.
 
Judging from my more than thirty years experience in education, I have in the last eight months sensed a new climate of collaboration in EFA. Let us promise ourselves that we keep up the momentum. This is in the interest of all of us.
 
UNESCO writes open letter to Oxfam International
 
UNESCO is publishing in this Bulletin Board an open letter to Oxfam International, explaining how UNESCO is moving ahead on the EFA agenda. The reason for this is to promote openness and transparency, which, in fact, is the very purpose of publishing the Bulletin Board.
 
The letter by UNESCO is a response to a speech given by Phil Twyford, Advocacy Director of Oxfam International, at a recent meeting at the Canadian National Commission of UNESCO to discuss the follow-up to the World Education Forum. Mr Twyfor criticized UNESCO for lack of results in the past seven months, notably on the issue of accelerated mobilization of funds for basic education.
 
"I am not suggesting that every child should be in school already. But I am saying that by now we should see some evidence the international community is working together in such a way that they are capable of meeting the targets. And that a global initiative … is at least on the drawing board," Mr Twyford said.
 
In his reply, Jacques Hallak, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. stresses that money alone is no panacea, as it cannot by itself solve the multi-faceted and complex issue of providing quality education to all, including to the millions of out-of-school children.
 
"Pouring money on non-functioning education systems will regrettably not turn them into good education systems. Rather, education is a long-term undertaking that necessitates capacity-building in an open, democratic environment," Mr Hallak comments.
 
Please find attached UNESCO's letter to Oxfam International
 
World Bank maps donors' EFA target countries
 
In the past few months, the World Bank, in close collaboration with bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, has been mapping countries that donor agencies are targeting upon for EFA. The first results of this mapping exercise are now available and the latest draft table is attached to this Bulletin Board (in Excel format).
 
The draft table, which received favourable comment at the recent meeting of the Working Group meeting on EFA, is now being finalized. It will then be used as an essential tool for EFA partners to facilitate cooperation and identify non-targeted countries where special efforts are needed, etc.
 
The World Bank would like to receive contributions/suggestions for improvements/changes to this draft table. Please send to Marlaine Lockheed, Acting Director of Education, the World Bank
E-mail: Mlockheed@worldbank.org
 
Regional up-date on EFA activities
 
Africa
 
Nineteen of UNESCO's twenty-four field offices in Africa attended a regional consultation from 4-5 December 2000 in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss the kind of support that UNESCO can best offer for Dakar follow-up activities in the region. The consultation was organized by UNESCO's regional office for education in Dakar.
 
After having listened to reports made by each field office on what has been done in countries since the World Education Forum last April, participants drafted and discussed a Regional Plan for Africa.
 
The draft plan proposes to place the Dakar follow-up within the context of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Decade of Education in Africa (1997-2006) and to build on other regional, subregional and national mechanisms. The next conference of African Education Ministers in December 2002 is seen as the occasion to consolidate national EFA plans of action and to evaluate progress in implementation of the Decade of Education Programme for Action and to make adjustments as necessary.
 
The plan also mentions a reinforcement of the clearinghouse function of UNESCO Dakar. National EFA plans of action and national experiences and policies will be shared through the channels provided by MINEDAF (e.g. the Ministers Web site (http://www.minedaf.org/) and the Document Service). Ministers' policy briefs on specific EFA issues and concerns will be prepared, technical consultations to consolidate national EFA plans will be organized and memoranda of understanding between Member States, UNESCO and EFA partners will be elaborated.
 
The work plans of the different UNESCO field offices in Africa are now being consolidated, including identification of priority areas for country, inter-country and subregional cooperation
 
Contact: A. Parsuramen, Director, UNESCO Dakar e-mail: a.parsuramen@unesco.org
 
 
Countries in action for EFA (in this issue: Bangladesh, Madagascar, Pakistan and Sierra Leone)
 
Bangladesh
 
UNESCO Dhaka, in collaboration with the Academy for Planning and Development, has launched two studies on the impact of literacy programme on promoting gender parity and the future of girls' education. The two studies are part of a total of twelve studies to provide support to the government of Bangladesh in its effort to prepare/strengthen the national plan of action for EFA.
 
Madagascar
 
The African Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to invest more in the Education for All efforts in Madagascar. During a recent mission within the framework of the United Nations joint initiative for the promotion of basic education for all children in Madagascar, a memorandum was signed between the government of Madagascar, the United Nations and ADB.
 
The African Development Bank has opened the possibility for the governement to benefit from its Technical Assistance Funds (non-refundable) up to US$2.5 million in 2001 to carry out upstream and pre-investment activities in the United Nations Joint Madagascar initiative, and foresees a more massive investment of some US$9-10 million for the period 2002-2004. The government of Madagascar will contribute US$7.5 million while the United Nations agencies will provide a total of US$7.9 million. Finally the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) is expected to contribute US$1.5 million to the initiative. An example of collaboration to follow...
 
Pakistan
 
The government of Pakistan is planning to launch the national and provincial plans of action for Dakar follow-up during an EFA national conference on 15 January 2001. UNESCO Islamabad will provide the necessary technical and logistic support for this important conference
 
Sierra Leone
 
UNDP Sierra Leone has agreed to provide US$150,000 to UNESCO to develop a Support Policy Project Document (SPPD) focusing on Education for All. UNESCO Dakar is responsible for carrying out this project.
 
Season's greetings
 
The Education Sector of UNESCO wishes you all the best for the New Year. The Bulletin Board will be back next year with more up-dates on the Dakar follow-up process.
 
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Information Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)